Inspire 2023 - Hayley

“For me - it’s just about spreading awareness and removing the taboo surrounding baby-loss. There are millions of families across the world waking up facing another day without their child - sadly, I'm just one of them.”

Hayley Storrs, a 34-year-old NHS worker from Leeds, will be taking part in this year’s Royal Parks Half Marathon in memory of her son, Ollie, who tragically died just days after he was due to be born. 

Despite putting her trust in the doctors and nurses who insisted throughout her pregnancy that ‘Ollie was perfectly fine’, Hayley knew deep down that they were wrong, worrying day-in-day-out about how her pregnancy might end. 

On the morning of 15th October 2021, Hayley was visited by a community midwife, who told her that she should have ‘no concerns’ about her upcoming labour. Just an hour later, Hayley began haemorrhaging and was rushed to hospital by her friend, but says she ‘knew what was coming’ after she ‘hadn’t felt Ollie kick during the journey’.

Hayley underwent a scan and was told by a doctor that Ollie’s heart was no longer beating - he was dead.

“A doctor told me Ollie was dead in the same room they had told me he was ‘happy and healthy’ just weeks before. I was numb from shock but was quickly taken to labour, before  being pushed to make decisions about his funeral arrangements within a matter of hours - it was truly heartbreaking.”

Hayley is now raising money for Tommy’s, the largest UK charity researching the causes and prevention of pregnancy complications, miscarriage, stillbirth, and premature birth. The Tommy's team has since supported Hayley during her pregnancy with the couple’s second child, Ella, who Hayley suggests ‘wouldn’t have been brought home safely without the help of the charity’.

“I’ve since thrown myself into researching online, joining forums and have even started a blog about our experience. I began to connect with women who had sadly lost their children in similar circumstances, and it’s given me an outlet for my grief and lets me chat to people who understand how I feel.”

Hayley also explains how she wants to tell Ollie’s story to help solve a problem affecting so many women across the UK: “We later learned that my placenta was on the 10th centile and also had notches, which increases foetal and maternal mortality by up to 35%. If I had been offered early delivery, or even a simple Doppler scan, Ollie would have been alive today”.

With this year’s Royal Parks Half Marathon taking place the day before the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week, which also happens to be the week of  Ollie’s birthday, Hayley is looking forward to representing hundreds of parents who have suffered a similar fate to her own on race-day:

“I plan to run the race carrying a big rainbow flag behind me, which has the names of hundreds of babies we’ve lost written on it.”

“I want to encourage others to speak our children’s names, to keep their memory alive now they’re gone, because their memory is all we have. It’s an honour to wear their names."

When asked what advice she would give to someone going through something similar, Hayley said: 

“Please hold on - things get easier. Hope may seem very far away right now, but I promise you it’s there.”

Reflecting on her thoughts ahead of race-day and beyond, Hayley says: “I’m nervous! I’m not an experienced runner, but I'm excited to see how much money I can raise by the time I’ve crossed the finish line.” 

To donate to Hayley's cause, please visit her fundraising page below

Donate to Hayley